Bruins vs. Jets NHL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Underdog Winnipeg Has Value (March 18)
Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Pierre-Luc Dubois
- The Bruins are rolling into Winnipeg for a tough meeting against the Jets.
- Winnipeg is fighting for a playoff spot and may have some value as an underdog against a Boston team playing its third game in four days.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting prediction.
Bruins vs. Jets Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Winnipeg Jets will host the Boston Bruins on Friday at Canada Life Centre as they continue to fight for their playoff lives.
On a two-game winning streak, the Jets sit two points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference before Thursday’s games, with just a 9.2% chance of making the playoffs according to MoneyPuck. Teams they’re chasing include Vancouver, Dallas, Vegas, Nashville, Edmonton and Los Angeles, all of which were in action with a chance to pick up points on Thursday night.
The Bruins will be playing their third road game in four nights. They beat Chicago 2-1 in overtime on Tuesday, then lost 4-2 to Minnesota on Wednesday.
As we reach the stretch drive of the season, game intensity has been ramping up for both clubs. Here’s the latest on the Jets and the Bruins, and your best bet.
Bruins Rounding into Form
The Bruins are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and seem to be rounding into form at just the right time. They play a well-structured game with a heavy emphasis on defensive responsibility. That’s apparent in their league-best Corsi Against per 60 and expected goals against rate.
In net, Jeremy Swayman’s 11.2 goals saved above expected have rightfully earned him the starter’s job. The 23-year-old should also be receiving some serious consideration for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.
Offensively, the Bruins are not a high-production team, but their power play is quite reliable, with a 24.8% success rate. Leading scorers David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand have a knack for scoring timely goals and depth scoring is there; the Bruins have seven players on their roster with 10 goals or more.
Remarkably, Boston has scored more and surrendered less away from home than at TD Garden this season. The Bruins’ road record is an impressive 19-9-3. But they’re currently dealing with an important injury, as captain Patrice Bergeron was sent home after Tuesday’s game in Chicago due to an infection in his arm.
Boston’s starting goaltender for Friday’s game remains a question mark. Linus Ullmark has weaker overall numbers for the season, but he surrendered just one goal and earned the win in Chicago on Tuesday — and will be more rested. Swayman gave up four goals and took the loss in Minnesota on Wednesday.
Jets Fighting for a Shot
With wins in four of their last five games, including an impressive 7-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning last week, the Winnipeg Jets haven’t given up on sneaking into a Western Conference playoff spot.
It’s a dilemma for general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, who’s trying to decide whether or not he should try to recoup some assets by moving impending unrestricted free agents Paul Stastny, Andrew Copp and Nathan Beaulieu before the March 21 trade deadline. Further complicating matters, Beaulieu has now been placed on long-term injured reserve, while Copp is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
As they’ve redoubled their efforts to reach the postseason in their 19 games since the All-Star break, the Jets have increased their scoring by more than half a goal per game. On that front, they’ve been led by veterans Kyle Connor (27 points), Blake Wheeler (25 points) and Mark Scheifele (24 points).
That offense has been needed, because 2020 Vezina Trophy winner Connor Hellebuyck hasn’t been as stalwart as usual. Hellebuyck’s still at a solid nine goals saved above expected this season, but that doesn’t put him among league leaders like Igor Shesterkin (30.7) and Frederik Andersen (29.1).
Hellebuyck has played more minutes than any other goaltender in the league heading into Friday’s game, and is playing behind a Jets defense that’s uncharacteristically sixth-worst in the NHL in expected goals against at 5-on-5. He has faced more shots, made more save, and given up more goals than any other goalie in the league.
Hellebuyck has also given up three goals or more in each of his last nine starts. And as the Jets fight for their playoff lives, he’s unlikely to get a reprieve anytime soon.
Bruins vs. Jets Picks
When the Bruins and Jets faced each other in Boston on Jan. 23, the home team picked up a 3-2 victory in what turned out to be the last win of Tuukka Rask’s career. David Pastrnak scored the tiebreaker that proved to be the game winner on the power play early in the third period.
That night, the well-rested Bruins were playing the sixth game of a seven-game homestand. On Friday, they’ll be playing their third game in four nights, on the road, with travel, and coming off a hard-hitting, playoff-style game in Minnesota.
The schedule has the Bruins set up to sag, while the Jets can’t afford to let up if they hope to keep pace in the West.
Hellebuyck is overdue for a big game. It could come against a Boston team that may be low on fuel.
The chance to pick up the Jets at plus money is good value situation here. Look for the home squad to land in the win column on Friday night.
Pick: Jets moneyline (+115); play down to +100